June 30, 2009

Ministry, past and future

Ministry has been something that I have been doing ever since jr. high in some ways, and even before that.  

Ministry is doing what God has asked us to do, to Love God and Love others, and to show others how to do that.  

I believe that God has called us all to ministry, and given some the opportunity and calling to do it, and luckily get paid for it.  Ministry has taken on  a number of looks for me in the last several years, and I have to admit, I have no idea what it is going to look like tomorrow, but I do know that I will always be involved in ministry.

This past week, I spent some time in Montana, at a camp called Beartooth Mountain Christian Camp, where I had the pleasure of spending time with the band and worship leader, Joseph Barkley.  Joseph is an Associate Pastor at Ecclesia Hollywood, where he is teacher and leader of music and worship, and also travels to put on concerts and lead worship at different events.  

As I look at where God is moving, what I know is this, that God has given me gifts and talents, a passion, and what I believe a mission to challenge the Church, those in it and yet to be in it, to love God and love people.  This is a passion for the big Church, not just a local church, but also believe that I have been, for the past couple of years, entrusted with a desire for community, in which discipleship and evangelism are synonymous, because they happen so naturally in this atomosphere.

Some of the clarification of what lies ahead for me, that I am getting as of this point, is coming as a result of a couple of different things.  I believe that I have been listening to God the best that I can and obeying, even the smallest details, to stay within listening distance to Him.  Talking with Joseph and seeing what he is doing, a pastor and traveling musician, has given me an opportunity to see that this kind of relationship works, if you find the right place for it.  To be able to use the gifts and talents God has given me in the local church, and then that same local church having a sence of calling to "send" me out to the Church.  

I cannot say that this is definitely where God is leading, but I believe that God is clearing out those fears that I have, to at least put them back on the table.  As I spoke for Super Summer Jr. High last week, I ended with my defining message for the last couple of years, "Water Walking", and gave to God my fears of church ministry.  He is clearly cleaning the "cobwebs" that have formed in the past, and forcing me to face them.  

I know God is doing what is best for me, and I am feeling very open to where he is leading right now.


June 29, 2009

Great Rest, New Challenge

It was a great weekend.  I got to spend time with the fam.  First, just with Tauni, Michael and Zoe for the first 24 hours or so.  It was great.  Zoe wanted to play with me on the couch(wrestle), and Michael wanted to wrestle, then go and ride his bike without training wheels, which we started before I left for Montana last week.  He is doing a great job.  I just have to keep up with him to keep a lookout for cars all around him in the parking lot of our apartments.

We then went over for spagghetti, with my parents, Eric and Jenny, Dusty and Kirstin.  We took a dip in the pool and ate some Sno Cones.  It was a nice evening.  

Church, sound system problems, great worship, Barret leading with wisdom and Hebrew, the sermon was awesome, and then a church picnic.  Good to be at home and back with my community.  

I got a confirmation just a couple of hours ago that I will be speaking at Camp Gideon at their Challenge camp for those coming out of 7th-9th grades.  It is a challenge because I spoke there last year, which means I only have 6 days to prepare 4 messages that match their theme of "Boot Camp".  I am up for the challenge, but also have several other things that I have already planned to do, one being "Red, White and Boom" in down town Columbus on the 3rd.  

I am pumped about being able to take my family again this year.  It was a blast for them last year, and this year they will not have to take naps, which will give them more time for all the good times.

Please pray for fresh eyes, a ready heart, and a fullness of funnyness, wisdom and stories.


June 26, 2009

Last Day of Camp

The last day of camp was a good.  Ken, the director of the camp, took us on a hike to Sioux Charley Lake.  It was 3 miles in and 3 miles out.  He hiked up with his fishing pole, and he caught a fish in the lake.  The river coming down was rushing so fast and was so high because of all the snow that was melting.  

This post is going to sound a little short and weird, but I have some sort of a reason.  I am so tired.  I am ready for a long nap, but am even more ready to see Tauni, Michael and Zoe.  I miss them so much.  

Last night was very cool.  I talked about walking on water.  What I call the “road” that I have taken.  It went very well.  When I gave the students a chance to come and put their fears and obstacles in the boat, actually a green kayak, they came in droves.  I think there were people there before I could even get out of the way.  Joseph Barkley came up and played “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman, which has seemed to be an anthem for me for the last 6 months or so.  The band was amazing for the entire week.  It was so good to work, and play with them.

I pray that God continues to use this week to impact Jr. High, the counselors, the camp staff and the camp ground summer staff.


June 25, 2009

Super Summer Wed. Update

Yesterday was a good day.  Started out by eating a delicious omelette. Next, headed into Absarokee, Montana, with the band.   It is about a 25 minute drive, which we were making to sit inside a coffee shop and enjoy the wifi offered.  Once we got there, the shop was closed.  We don’t know why.  Was it just for today, for the week, month, forever… we don’t know.  There were no more coffee shops, and only one place with wifi.  The information center, which seemed to be a combo antique, tourist information… etc.  We all sat outside with our macs, and talking on our cell phones.  It was pretty funny to see.  The locals were all driving by and trying to figure out what was going on.  I wanted to take pictures of their faces, because it was priceless.  There is a picture floating around of us sitting there taken by Oscar, the keys player in Joseph Barkley, which I will have to get my hands on.  

We came back just in time for lunch.  Wow, the food here is amazing.  There is a wide variety here.  It makes me think of Bob Evans (thanks dad).  We had pizza, cheese filled bread sticks, tacos, hamburgers, hotdogs…  it was awesome.  

In the afternoon we headed out to the firing range.  It is the first time I have shot a gun probably since middle school, with my dad at Men’s Retreat.  The difference is, that was a 22, and this was a lot bigger.  I have no idea what it was, but it had the two huge missile looking “bullets” that we loaded each time.  We shot at this discs that were shot into the air.  It was pretty sweet.  I shot 19 out of 50, which I was pumped about.  The gun knocked me backward the first time because of the kick.  NICE!!

Last night I was starting to feel tired, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  I spoke about not just stopping at words when we know what God wants us to do, but to Just Do It.  It is the action that is the obedience that God wants.  There are times we need to plan, and think, but there is always an action, and we need to get on it.  

It was after I was done that I was hit very hard with the low that I hit when I am doing a number of sessions in a row.  It was a drain, that I can’t explain.  It is a loneliness, and yet I know that I am not alone.  I miss my family, Tauni and the kids, my extended family, my community of support, and their lifting me up.  It is a hard thing.  I just kind of walked around, sat around and was very hard for me to focus, engage, even connect with people.  I hate that feeling.  It doesn’t help when I am unable to have cell reception, to make those connections happen. 

I hit the wall last night, but am ready to break through it today.  I actually slept till 7:30 today, which is an hour longer than my previous nights. 


June 24, 2009

Super Summer Tues. update

Yesterday I had the chance to go white water rafting with the band, Joseph Barkley, Kyle, and the guy that owned the equipment, Marvin.  We got to the river, stepped in the water, and it was freezing.  We started down, paddling, and I had to ask about the temp.  He said it was probably about 38 degrees.  So, a little cold.  I was sitting in front, so I took the brunt of the water coming.  Well, me and Mark got destroyed.  Mark is the lead guitarist from Joseph Barkley.  It was funny at first, and as it hit my body, I would let out this little high pitched noise.  Let’s just say, I did it quite a bit.  With about a mile or so to go out of the 11 mile trip, I began to ask myself if I could go any farther.  My legs, feet and hands were completely numb, and they were beginning to hurt.  The funniness of the water coming over turned into just being angry every time it breached the side.  When we saw the dock, I believe it was the best thing I had ever seen.  We had to paddle pretty hard to get over there, but we were all very willing to put in the extra work to get it done.  As we got out, we had to carry the boat out, and I could barely walk.  I couldn’t feel my legs, which made it difficult to carry a boat.  It made for a great illustration last night, but I know I wouldn’t do it again this week.

Last night I talked about trust, trusting God and knowing that he will do what is best for us, he designed us, and has our best interest in mind.  The secondary but I believe almost equally important, is our trust in people around us, the community of church, because it is those two trusts that develop us and draw us closer to what God is doing.  It is all about relationship, no matter how cheesy it may sound, is true.  

I am a little tired because my body is still alined with Ohio time, which wakes me up around 6:00 to 6:30, no matter what time I go to bed.  But hey, I can fake it for a week, right?


June 23, 2009

Opening Night in the Beartooth Mountains

I had a chance to “hike”, which for me was on 4 wheels in an Isuzu Rodeo, about 3/4 of the way up some of the Beartooth Mountains.  It was awesome.

Last night I spoke for the first time to the 7th and 8th grade students.  I spoke about listening to the voice of God, and listening for the “pssst” of God.  It was a great night. At the end, I gave them a chance to raise their hands if they wanted to follow God with everything that they have, and had probably half the room, of 150 students raise their hand, and added another 1/4 as I asked the question about wanting to train their ears to hear and recognize His voice.  

I brought all the leaders up front and opened up the front as a place for the students to be able to come and pray with the leaders.  By the end, I would say almost all of them took the opportunity to come, save a few, to pray, as the band, Plumbline, played.  It was awesome.

Thanks for the emails of prayers and reminders of people praying for the camp and me as I continue to do what God has called me to.  God is sweet, and I love having the opportunity to follow Him, and do exactly what I feel God has designed me for.


June 22, 2009


Montana is beautiful.  This is my first time here, and I can see for miles.  From Billings, We were able to see the mountains over 100 miles away.  It is nice.  The camp is up in the mountains, with some snow covered mountains just a couple of miles away.  I might have to hit them up sometime this week.  We are planning on going whitewater rafting, but not sure about the fly fishing yet.  The water I guess is going to make it pretty rough because of all the runoff from the mountains, which makes the white water rafting even more dangerous.  There is mountain boarding, which is skateboarding on grass downhill, so I will try not to get hurt doing that.  We will see what the week brings.  God is definitely on the move and am excited to see what that is.

June 21, 2009

Crazy Trip

So I had a crazy trip on Saturday getting here to Montana.  I had a flight scheduled for Saturday morning to leave at 7:55 am.  I got an email, which luckily I checked, at 7:22 pm on Friday telling me that my flight had been cancelled and was rescheduled for Sunday morning.  I spent an hour and a half on not one, but 2 different phones, trying to get it changed back to Saturday.  I finally did and was scheduled to fly out on Saturday at 7:12 pm.  

I get to the airport and everything is going great.  It is then announced that the plane is running a little late, but we will be off by 7:30.  I get on the plane, and after sitting there for a few minutes, talking with my neighbor, I realize that there is something wrong.  I don’t know what, but definitely something wrong.  I noticed a guy from the airline come in and ask a guy in 1st class to get up and get off the plane.  He then pulls 2 guys from economy and takes them up to first class where the guy was sitting.  I am confused at this point.  I then see this same guy come in and ask two more passengers, sitting very close to me, to get up and get off the plane.  I hear him tell them that there are passengers on the plane that do not have seats.  I look to the rear of the plane and see 4 people standing in the back.  How in the world do people actually, physically, get on a plane without a seat?  Isn’t that something that should be taken care of before being on the plane.  Then an argument breaks out between some passengers and one of the male flight attendents.  They are asked to leave. So, that seems to take all the passengers off that need to so that we can take off.  Throughout this whole ordeal, I am watching my clock because I have a connecting flight in Denver with an hour layover.  I am also carrying on a conversation with my neighbor while my ADD is kicking in and watching this whole thing.  We took flight finally at 8:30.  I am worried at this point, because my hour layover became a 4 minute lay over.  We made up some time in the air, but not enough to grab a bite to eat in Denver because I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch, and was starving.  I got to my connection just before they closed the doors.  It was crazy, but I made it.  I was sure I was going to be spending the night on the floor of the airport that night.

We made it out to camp, only to find that there is no cell coverage, unless we drive a considerable distance, so connecting with my family is going to be a hit and miss thing this week.  I told Michael he can call me 108 times if he wants, but I won’t always be able to answer the phone.  Actually, I will never be able to answer the phone at this point. 


June 20, 2009

Expecting His presence

I am sitting in the Columbus Airport thinking thinking about leaving my family and what the Lord has in store.  I have been delayed in my trip by 12 hours because my trip to Chicago was cancelled this morning which leaves me flying through Denver instead this evening.  That being said, it has caused in some respects a frustration because of spending an hour and a half on the phone last night instead of finishing up packing.  It also gave me more time to worry about what to pack, what not to pack, am I getting in too late,... etc. 

I now have a chance to be past all of that commotion and to think again about why I am going to Montana and believing that the Spirit is going to show up and do some great things.  Even through the distraction, God has given me some words just today to bring into focus the whole week.  

The theme for the week is, "what is your anthem?  What does your heart sing?"  It has been amazing the way this has come together.  Without going into the whole week of talks, let me tell you the words that God has given me for this week.

Get it!
Trust it!
Just do it!
Get rid of it!

It may not make sense by itself, but in the context of where God has be going, this makes a great anthem chorus, and leaves the verses to be filled in by each student individually.

Here is where this is going and you can compare to God's words above.

Listen to God
Trusting God and people and that it is about thier love for you.
Getting rid of fear and obstacles in your way of what God told you.


Pray with me and believe with me that God is going to do amazing things in the lives of the teens, counselors, staff, and camp staff, as well as that I can continue to hear his voice and do what he asks of me.  Pray for the Spirit to be moving, changing lives, and I would go as far as to say to see Him move as He did in the scripture that we hold so dear.  Let His presence be known, seen and felt.  

That is all He wants me to say,

June 18, 2009

Waiting, and going

I met with the pastor yesterday about the ministry position.  It was a very encouraging meeting to me, being that it made me want to look further into the possibilities.  As we met, I was able to be up front and honest with him, as well as he with I.  I let him know of my struggles and past ministry, even my not knowing what youth ministry looks like in the context of the journey that God has been taken me on with the concept of Community.  He was able to let me know that there are some things that are happening at the church at this moment that is taking precident, and will place our talk on hold, if not make it impossible at this current time.  

It is not a closed door, but it is going to be a waiting game.  That is not a bad thing.  This has been something that has kind of taken me off guard as well, so a little time to think about it is going to be a good thing.  The good thing is, I am not in the mindset of needing this job, but just seeing what God has in store.  He asked me yesterday what happens if this spot doesn't work, what is plan "B".  I told him that I didn't know.  But now as I have had time to think about the answer, this church in not exactly a plan "A".  It is a plan.  It is like there are an infinite number of ways that my life can go at this point, and they are all plans, and some of them I don't even know about yet.  

That being said, I am now in big time prep for a wild week in Montana.  I will be taking Friday off and spending time with Tauni and the kids.  Then leaving bright and early, 6:00 am on Saturday to fly out to Chicago and then on to Billingsly, to eat lunch with my friend Kyle.


June 16, 2009

What are you doing God?

I am going to be meeting with a senior pastor about a ministry position.  I have gotten to this place by following what I believe to be a bread crumb trail from God.  2 weeks ago I had a pastor facebook me about a particular position, that was not at his church, but wondered if I had heard about it.  A second pastor, within a couple of days, asked me if I had applied at this same particular church.  I mentioned it to my wife the next day, and she seemed interested in it.  Half an hour later I was emailing the pastor at this church.  I have no idea where this is going, but I am asking for your prayers in this endeaver.  

I am still in a place that I love what I do, God has changed me so much through this "walking on water", that I hardly want it to change.  But I know that at this time, change is inevitable, in either a positional change, or a change in how I fund the ministry that God has given me.  

I am nervous about meeting this pastor for the fact that I have no idea what God is doing right now.  I had a group of guys get together last week and spend a couple of hours worshipping and praying for direction for the ministry, and where it was leading.  I, of course, was waiting for someone to come out and tell me the exact thing God wanted me to do, but that was not the case.  

There are some things that have changed in my ministry over the past couple of years, and am wondering how that will affect the ministry I would do as part of a staff at a church.  I am not even sure what that looks like anymore.  

I want to be and believe that I am being open to what God is doing.  I just pray that I will be obedient to where he is leading.